Russia and Chechnya: Death à la Carte

The Chechen conflict will not be solved by more killing or the easy naming of all those who oppose Moscow as terrorists. Only the rule of law and real prospects of a better life can end the carnage. This is a message Moscow must hear loud and clear if it wishes the international community to commit the resources necessary to rebuild the shattered fabric of Chechen society.

The World Today Updated 15 October 2020 Published 1 April 2005 4 minute READ

John Russell

Head of Languages and European Studies, University of Bradford

While the world’s media assess the death of Chechen leader, Aslan Maskhadov, largely in terms of the Russian-Chechen conflict, the repercussions of his assassination range much further. The problems faced by the Russians in Chechnya are by no means all unique: a society fractured by years of war, the prospect of a widening and deepening insurgency with a progressively more religious than nationalist agenda, and a reluctance to engage with a broad enough spectrum of erstwhile opponents to ensure a sustainable transition to an inclusive post-conflict scenario.

Yet it is difficult to sympathise with the Russians when the Kremlin insists that it has eliminated the ‘president of the Chechen terrorists’ and that a source of ‘evil’ has been eradicated. When one asks what Moscow had to gain from removing Maskhadov, some of the answers give serious grounds for concern.

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